PHC directs EPA to submit report on harmful effects of mobile phone towers

Akhtar Amin  November 15, 2018

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Wednesday directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to submit report about hazardous effects of radiations from Base Transmission System towers and microwaves antennas of mobile phone companies.

A two-member bench headed by Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan issued the directions to the EPA director general in a writ petition seeking an order to stop installation of mobile phone companies’ Base Transmission System towers and microwaves antennas near schools, hospitals and populous residential areas as these transmit hazardous radiations causing serious diseases and health problems.

The high court had already stayed installation of mobile phone companies’ towers near schools, hospitals and populous residential areas across the province and directed the provincial government not to issue “No Objection Certificate” to them till the next order.

During the course of hearing, the bench asked EPA chief Dr Bashir Khan to submit a report regarding installation of such towers near public places. The court also directed authorities to submit report about the towers’ radiations and harmful effects. The court also asked the DG EPA to inform the court regarding radiation proof devices, which can reduce the harmful effects and explain these devices’ effectiveness.

During hearing, Justice Qaiser Rashid observed that though the modern world had provided the mobile phone facility to people, the towers’ harmful radiations were claiming lives. He stated that the court cannot compromise over the lives of people as the Constitution of Pakistan guarantees protection of lives of the citizens.

The bench, however, turned down the request of the mobile phone companies’ lawyers who claimed that the companies were suffering due to the stay order restraining them from installation of mobile towers. The court fixed November 27 for the next hearing of the case.

The petition was filed by Muhammad Naeem, a resident of Peshawar, through his lawyer Noor Alam Khan. The petitioner claimed that his wife had developed cancer due to hazardous radiation from the mobile companies’ towers.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, EPA, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority through its chairman, and chief executive officers of cellular companies were made parties in the petition. About the facts of the case, it said that towers were installed atop buildings and they were dangerous because they emitted microwaves at a frequency of 1900 MHz, which was the intense radioactivity from mobile phones towers that adversely impacted every biological organism within one square kilometre.

It was claimed in the petition that the installation of cellular phone system was causing a number of health problems to people. It said that microwaves from mobile phone towers and microwave antennas can interfere in human body by causing a variety of potential health problems such as headache, memory loss, cardiovascular stress, cancer, low sperm count, miscarriages, disturbance of nervous system and brain tumours.

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